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Des Moines, Iowa


Last Comic Standing

Geoff Wood

I'm a big fan of TiVo. I've had it four years or so and love the fact that I can watch any show when I want to watch it - not when it's on. However, this means that I catch every episode of the shows I like and summer reruns are completely pointless. Therefore, each summer I have to scout out some new shows and in the process of doing that this week I found out NBC is bringing Last Comic Standing back for a 4th season.

I missed the first ep, but tuned in tonight (actually watching it right now) and was surprised to see that Jay Mohr isn't the host but some other guy from some sitcom I've never watched is. Too bad. I liked Jay. I should note that LCS is the only "American Idol"-like performing reality show I've ever paid attention to. I don't like reality shows in general (I did like Real World/Road Rules back in the day, though) and I'm glad to see less and less of them getting on the air. I'm fairly surprised NBC is trying this since they committed the most dire reality TV sin possible during season three. They cancelled the show before the very last episode. Can you believe that? They have a competition show and whittle it down from "thousands" to two - and then don't show the final competition. Geesh. I'm sure Alonzo Bodin (the winner) really appreciated the press release.

They started off by emphasizing how anyone off the street can show up to an audition and get on the show. I think that's the wrong approach to get good comedy - but fits the "American Idol" mentality of television today. They've taken a different approach to each of the four seasons, so we'll see if its funny. The first season (that I didn't watch) was all small time comedians (most weren't funny) that weren't funny. Season two could've been sub-titled the "The Best of The Bob & Tom Show". I think I'd heard almost all of them in that forum. It was neat that they had national radio/TV exposure to begin with and were more established. Season three pitted season one vs. season two and I don't think season two every lost (would that be the NBC version of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge?). It's probably worthwhile to mention that I really enjoy stand up comedy. The Bob and Tom Radio Show is known for promoting stand up comedy on a nationwide scale and since I live in the town they broadcast from, we have the opportunity to see them perform live. We don't take advantage of that enough, but none the less. I do however download their show to my Ipod and listen to it at work, so I hear at least four hours of it everyday (and thus a lot of comedians).

They also interviewed Alonzo and John Heffron (the winner from season two) about how great its been since they won on the show (even though they didn't show the final competition - as mentioned earlier - in season three when they went up against each other) . However, they didn't mention season one's winner. Apparently, Dat Phan's success has been fleeting.

So far I'm pleasantly surprised by the show. Comedians, I've heard before like, Doug Benson and Bill Dwyer, made it through the first round. So did a guy from Tempe that didn't look familiar but sounded familiar (I recognized his set from an appearance on B&T). A couple former TV folks auditioned. Skippy from Family Ties didn't make it but Theo from Road Rules did.

P.S on Theo: Wow, Theo. He introduced himself as having trouble getting stand up street cred because he "used to be on Road Rules". Used to? I happen to watch a few minutes of the latest challenge and he's on the current reunion season. Ouch.

P.P.S on the Real World/Road Rules: In that ten or so minutes that I watched of the current season (please note that gave up watching that show when I was too old to try out - not that I ever did try out - but it was my guilty TV pleasure from age 13-25) I heard one kid giving advice to another that was awesome. He said "don't trust anyone who you watched on the show when you were in middle school". When they were in middle school? They're 18 years old. Some of these people were on the show when I was in middle school. While others have moved on to daytime soaps, exercise videos, marrying basketball players, and Playboy some just keep coming back. I don't know what amazes me more - the fact that that show is actually a launch vehicles that works for some people or the fact that some people don't give up trying.